Thursday, October 29, 2009

class of 1990 week 10

For weeks Miss Kassian had been giving vague and odd instructions to members of St. Thomas Operation Contact (our schools peer counseling team.) She told them to keep the 30th free. At one point she told them to bring balloons, and then two days later told them to forget about the balloons. The week before, she told them to invite guests. I won’t lie—I had a rather cynical attitude towards the group and their mission, particularly the mandate to help raise people's self esteem, but I was grateful for the invite Kevin gave me and to be included in whatever was going on. So Monday after a normal school day, I went home and then left for town at 7:40. It turned out to be an elaborate costume scavenger hunt. We divided into teams of three and were each given a number and a list of houses to go to. At first we didn’t know what we were asking for and you had to get your clues in the right order, so you would knock on a door and then give your number and they would tell you if they had anything for you. They could also tell you if they had something that you would have to come back for, so a lot of the homes we had to go to more than once. It was a lot of walking around. I was on a team with Kevin and one other female but my journal has only two cryptic sentences about the whole thing.

Halloween in St Thomas and the week leading up to it were the only times the town had a police presence. The sheriff would send a car or two around because the normal Halloween fun involved pulling anything that wasn’t nailed down into the street or shifting things around town. Generally as long as nothing was destroyed or vandalized the police didn’t interfere. A few of the scavenger hunt parties were stopped by the cops and asked what they were up to.

In the end we all found the bits of our costumes, and put together the clues that lead us to a party at Miss Kassian's house. It was a fun night. We decided to wear our costumes the next day to school. I got home and to bed around 12:30. After, I reflected that physics would be a whole lot better if Miss Kassian put half the effort into lessons plans that she did in organizing the event.

October 31st I wore my costume to school as did most of the students who were on the hunt. Mrs. Hollis also wore a costume. My legs were very sore from all the walking around town the night before. Aside from homecoming float building it was a rare thing for me to be in St. Thomas and not be at the school. I spent the night of Reformation Day at home. Dad had planned a showing of the Martin Luther film, (the old black and white one) but no one showed up. I was not surprised.

Now I’m not entirely sure this next thing happened my senior year, but I know for a fact that it happened on November 1. As usual anything that was not nailed down got moved. Most of the picnic tables from the city park found their way to the front of the school along with a realtors “For Sale” sign. Early in the day Mr. Hanson (who was also on the park board) got on the intercom and called all the boys from 7th grade to senior to report to the gym. Once there, he marched them out of the school to carry all the picnic tables across the street to the city park. After the guys were back in class, he then got on the intercom and thanked them for being good citizens and volunteering for this civic duty. What really rankled the girls was that he only called the boys, when the girls were just as responsible for the disheveled state of the town.

Wednesday was parent-teacher conferences. Mom went but mostly to visit socially with some of my teachers. When I asked what they said she just said, “Oh, they all like you.”

That same day I got a library book from the Carnegie Regional Library in Grafton in the mail. I had requested it over the phone. Mrs. Kappel was insistent on us reading book report books from the country and time period we were studying in Lit., ideally they had to be from the school’s own library, but she let me order the book from Grafton. I was reading Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest.” I read it twice and then gave it to my dad who spent two hours carefully unfolding the bent corners of the pages and carefully erasing pencil marks in the margins before reading it himself. It didn't hit me until after I handed in my report that my father's name is the the Hungarian form of Earnest.

Thursday was Peggy’s birthday and we celebrated all day. We had cake in PDP, cake and milk in Computer class. Then the high school all traveled to Crystal ND for a pep rally for the girl's basketball team who had earned a spot in the regional tournament. We got back in time for study hall and then after lunch had cookies in Shop. English we spent writing captions. I also started working in earnest on the posters for the volleyball team.

Friday we got an inch of snow. I made some nice progress on my bookcase in Shop. That night I babysat for the Bigwoods until 1am. Saturday it was cold and muggy, 40 degrees, and rained for about an hour in the morning. I loved it (I’m still weird like that) and noted that it would have been a “perfect spring day.” Sunday after church there was an Aid Association for Lutherans dinner after church. I got a Frisbee with their new logo on it.


lhg edited and approved

Friday, October 23, 2009

Class of 1990 week 9

Mrs. Kappel liked the gumball machine I drew. Another student had also drawn one that was nicer but he failed to keep his in the size limits so mine got used. The fall concert was on Tuesday. I was glad when it was over. I also took and distributed my senior pictures to my classmates. On Wednesday I was studying for the ACT, but I took some time out to redesign my signature. I didn’t like the way it looked and I didn’t want it on any forms that would follow me to college.

Friday the grade school had its annual Halloween carnival. I got a little checker board from the fishpond in the first grade room and played a game against Terry when I got back to study hall in the library. I would’ve won if the bell hadn’t rung.

Saturday I left for Grand Forks at 6:32am to take the ACT. I was in the same room as Peter. We later learned that we had the same version of the test. That year big changes were made to the test. I thought I did OK, but I had a brain freeze on part of the math portion. Mom and I went out for lunch after and then that evening I babysat for the Bigwood’s. They didn’t get home until around 2:15am. I was asleep on their couch when they came in. Once home, I was thankful for daylight savings time.

Sunday I taught Sunday School, then I was the only one from St. Paul’s who went to the Lutheran Youth Fellowship Zone Rally. Still it was good to see all my friends from camp and I enjoyed the hay ride. Instead of playing the radio, Dad and I talked all the way back home.


lhg edited and approved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Class of 1990 Week 8

I lamented that just as we finished one chapter in Physics and started a new one Miss Kassian would put the next text date up on the board. Mr. Hillious was not there for choir on Monday so I spent the last hour of the day straightening up books in the library. On Tuesday an earthquake hit California delaying the World Series. All the news focused on the quake. On Wednesday the boys kept trying to get teachers to talk about it to avoid getting anywhere with lessons and perhaps avoid homework over the break. As I wrote it in my journal:

No teacher would get into it with them. They tried the hardest in English and almost got it when we started talking about the Great Vowel Shift. “Shifts? That’s sort of what those two continental plates did…”

We got out of school at 2:30 and had the rest of the week off for the Teachers convention. I was only a few days out from my story deadline for the Institute of Children’s literature, so I got very busy doing everything but writing the story. I stripped posters off my wall and rearranged the furniture in my bedroom (the journal has before and after diagrams). I wrote letters, drew gumball machines for the yearbook. Friday I got my senior pictures back.

Saturday I went to Grand Forks to spend the weekend with Sarah at the University of North Dakota. All her suitemates were gone. We walked around campus, watched TV, and then Bob called. I finished reading the book I brought and had nothing to do while she talked so she suggested that I should wash her dishes. So I did, but I kept making smart comments and she got sick of hearing it so she closed the room door and locked me into the suite area where the sink was until she finished talking. When she hung up we played a “rousing game of cribbage.” We ordered pizza for supper. Sunday we went to Wittenberg Chapel. We both napped and then in the evening went to the Michel W. Smith concert at Chester Fritz auditorium. I saw a few people I knew from Girls State, Lutheran Youth Fellowship and even a group of students from St. Thomas. Mom took me home after the show. I finally got to bed at about 1:10 am.


lhg edited and approved

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Class of 1990 week 7

We had worksheets to do in Physics. They took a long time for me to do and on Tuesday I stayed up past midnight getting the questions done. We graded them in class and I got an A. In English we finished our journalism unit and started English literature. In shop I painted my tool box red as Sarah told me to. With the tool box project wrapping up we were now going to do individual projects so I brought the collapsible bookcase of Rebecca’s so Mr. Lloyd could measure it so I could copy it. He had some left over wood from another student’s project in Drayton that I could use for it. (Our school shared our shop teacher with the high school in Drayton, ND. Mr. Lloyd was in Drayton in the mornings and St. Thomas in the afternoons.)

Part of English for the seniors at STHS was producing both the school newspaper and the yearbook. Editors were chosen from the senior class. It was assumed that I would be a yearbook editor, but one of my guiding principles in high school was to avoid extra curricular activities that my elder sisters excelled at and Rebecca had been an editor and had even worked on yearbook throughout her college career and even became an advisor for the yearbook at the Hong Kong International School where she taught. Thus I had no interest in being an editor. The selected editors were Margo, Jaci & Terry. The editors were expected to show up for the weekly yearbook meetings with Mrs. Kappel. Other seniors could come and earn extra credit for English. Thursday that week I, for reasons I didn’t quite understand myself, showed up for the yearbook meeting. It ended up being just me, Mrs. Kappel, and Jaci. On Friday of that week the class went to Kevin’s house to retake a picture. The last time we took it the film was black and white and we wanted a color picture of us all blowing bubbles, as the yearbook had a bubble gum theme, “Sticking Together” and we needed color pictures for the theme page.

Most nights I watched the ABC lineup or PPT (Prairie Public Television—PBS in the rest of world) those two channels and Fox--which had limited programming in those days were the only channels that came in reliably clear. I got a letter from Rebecca—since she did not get comic strips in Hong Kong I would clip ones I thought she would enjoy and mail them to her. Usually Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County, & Far Side. Her letter back put me in a good mood. I still didn’t have a completed rough draft for my Institute of Children’s Literature assignment. I was also only getting between 5 & 7 hours of sleep a night. I tended to stay up late in my room reading and would leave a rolled up blanket to block the light from coming out of the gap under my door so Dad couldn’t tell that I was up.

Sunday night Mom, Dad, and I watched the ABC family drama “Life Goes On.” It was the one with the character with Down syndrome. That particular episode ended with the family having a food fight and laughing. Mom said that they would never let such a thing occur in our house, to which Dad added, “Especially if there were any books around.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Class of 1990 week 6

Class of 1990 week 6

Monday Dad left for a pastoral conference and half my class (4 of them) was at the Northern Interscholastic Press Association (NIPA) convention. Mrs. Kappel made me temporary newspaper editor. I thought the idea that we would be getting a newspaper out by the next day was laughable. I got a letter from Rebecca. She discovered that if I spent my second semester in Hong Kong I wouldn’t be able to graduate there and I would miss graduation in St. Thomas. At that point I gave up on the idea of spending a term living with my sister. The next day at school Jr. Carrie announced that she was moving to Washington to live with her aunt. I was a bit envious. It was funny to me to see the reaction of some of the underclassmen who couldn’t imagine ever wanting to live anywhere else than St. Thomas.

Tuesday I spent English class running up and down the stairs between the English classroom and the business classroom with all the typewriters up stairs. I’d run up, type a caption or a “by…” line or a “continued on…” continued from…” line and race back down where someone would cut it out of the page and paste it on the lay out sheet. I think newspapers were more fun to put together before the computer era.

Mr. Lloyd (8th & 11-12 industrial arts) had decreed that too many of us were in shop class to start the year with individual projects, so he decided that we were all going to make metal tool boxes. Some of the girls complained and he said, “Fine, you can make a metal make-up kit.” So far it had all be making notches, bending metal and doing spot welding. That day we started spray painting them. Mr. Lloyd advised us to use flat black paint but most of us had more creative ideas.

Wednesday we finally finished the first edition of the newspaper. My column was called “Nothing by Nobody.” I did it in part to needle the self-esteem police. There was some argument about if it should have a by line. I said no because the author, “nobody” is listed in the title, but was overruled so "Nothing by Nobody" was by Ruth Szedlak. Dad got home that day from his trip.

Thursday I was less than thrilled being stuck going to a career fair with the amount of homework being assigned by Miss. Kassian (7-Sr. Science, 7th grade class adviser, Asst. play director Operation Contact adviser), Mr. Torgeson (7-10 & 12 Social Studies 8th grade class adviser, HS Football coach), and Mrs. Hollis. We got back from the fair with 15 minutes left in the day and were dismissed to go home. I got in my car and then as I pulled on to Main Street I remembered that it was Thursday. On Thursdays I took 8th grader Jason to confirmation class since church is 10 miles out of town & I lived across the road from it. So I went around the block went back in the school and found his Mom, Mrs. Hollis, who told me that she was planning on taking him. So I left the school and Jr. Dawn wanted a ride home so I gave her one. After dropping her off, I had to turn up the air in the car because I hate hairspray fumes.

Friday my class played hide and seek with Mrs. Hollis. When she was late for class we decided to hide behind the steps. Then when she didn’t find us in the classroom she went off to find us and we made a mad dash for the door.

[Quick note about Mr. Torgeson—the other day I was doing a library instruction session and a student answered my question and I replied—“You’re pretty sharp. Must live on the edge of town.” The guy laughed a few minutes later when he got the joke. What does it mean when you start delivering your former teacher’s worst lines?]

At home Sarah and Bob came for a visit. After they left I finally got a good start on my Institute of Children’s Literature assignment. Sunday night dad and I got into a discussion of what body temperature has to do with the temperature of water used to take a shower and that morphed into a discussion of whistling ranges.